By Debra Anastasia Published November 22nd 2011
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Imagine you were walking in a desert, and you were so hot and very thirsty. The sun won’t quit, but you finally come upon the clearest, coolest pond. You jump in, even in your best clothes. You jump in and drink because you absolutely have to. You have to. Am I making any sense…?”
He counts her smiles every day and night at the train station. And morning and evening, the beautiful commuter acknowledges him—just like she does everyone else on the platform. But Blake Hartt is not like the others . . . he’s homeless. Memories of a broken childhood have robbed him of peace and twisted delusions into his soul. He stays secluded from the sun, sure the world would run from him in the harsh light of day.
Each day, Livia McHugh smiles politely and acknowledges her fellow commuters as she waits for the train to the city. She dismisses this kindness as nothing special, just like her. She’s the same as a million other girls—certainly no one to be cherished. But special or not, she smiles every day, never imagining that someone would rely on the simple gesture as if it were air to breathe.
When the moment comes that Livia must do more than smile, without hesitation she steps into the fray to defend the homeless man. And she’s surprised to discover an inexplicable connection with her new friend. After danger subsides, their smiles become conversation. Their words usher in a friendship, which awakens something in each of them. But it’s not long before their bond must prove its strength. Entanglements from the past challenge both their love and their lives.
Blake’s heart beats for Livia’s, even if her hands have to keep its rhythm. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love never fails. Love never fails, right?
∞ ∞ ∞
“Every time I think I couldn’t love you a bit more, you stretch my heart again.”
There were so many elements in this book that made it fantastic. First there’s the story of three boys and how they joined together creating a brotherhood against their foster-father. Boys that have not a single thing in common except the violence that they volunteered to endure together. Next is the beautiful story of Livia and Blake on how they meet and fell in love. How Livia attempts to make him better and how they reach their HEA.
smile 286: Blake was so sick, he still walked to the train station in the rain to see her smile Then there’s Cole and Kyle who have nothing in common either and end up together. If these relationships aren’t a perfect example of finding your soul mate than I don’t know what is. And last Beckett and Eve. How Beckett finally meets his match. And Eve falling in love after Beckett took her family away from her. How she became a killing machine needing to avenge her family but against her better judgement and her personal torment ends up falling instead of seeking the revenge that she desperately wanted.
At first I thought this story would be unacceptable. How can I young woman fall for a hobo? But when you get deeper into the story, it convinced me that
maybe it could happen. Why? Well, Blake could have always lived differently, he could have stayed with either of his brothers but by choice he chose to stay at the train station. Mostly it was because of his pride and for his music (never question a geniuses own methods) and of course he was always looking for her and counting her smiles . As mentioned he was attractive, very eloquent and respectful and obviously very talented. He did have psychological issues and it so happened that Livia was studying to become a psychologist. I really thought she was making him her pet project but it wasn’t like that at all. She was just so accepting, kind and altruistic. IF it wasn’t for his pride or wanting to witness her smiles, they would have never met.
For Kyle and Cole it seemed that it was love and first sight. Happened when Kyle first enters the Our Lady of the Lake to help Livia after the midnight church ceremony. I found it hilarious how Kyle tried to seduce Cole inside a church. A sacred place of worship…dancing and stripping on the altar with candle wax . How priceless was that? Very creative! That would take guts to do. I giggled throughout that whole scene, no disrespect intended.
smile 446: when Olivia first meets Cole. The way he saves her in the bathroom at the club was pretty violent. Can’t imagine the torment Cole was experiencing especially when he was living at the church. And again, Beckett comes and saves the day. I don’t understand why Kyle got herself into these situations just to feel loved.
“Kyle, I’ve done so much wrong. I think I’m done being the real Cole. How much hurt can I cause?” He could hardly speak through his fear.
She smiled again. I’ve done my own share of wrong, but look. Look around. We’re in the perfect place.”
Of all the characters, I think I loved Beckett the most. Even though he was the badass in the story, his intentions were pure of heart. He was the one who first volunteered to receive the beatings to protect the other kids. Since he knew he was aging out first he was the one that made it possible to protect his brothers even if he knew it would cost him his soul. Despite him being this total badass he never faltered on showing his emotions especially when it came to his brothers and eventually Eve. That wedding scene where Eve sets up a camera and he’s in a hotel all dressed up watching and going through every wedding motion was heartbreaking. The way he decides to let go of Eve in the end was also emotional. I am glad that the author decided to make the second book about him because he made the most impact in my opinion.
smile 1910: when he plays the cardboard piano for her in the kitchen
Really surprised that this story hasn’t received better reviews, I thought it was absolutely amazing. I’m not sure if it was revised or reedited since it was released in 2011. Normally it’s hard for me to get into a book that has multiple characters (short attention span) and multiple plots but this one was weaved exquisitely.
Smile 500: “Blake Hartt, I choose you. I deserve you. I want you.” The suspense and violence was not too over the top for a romance and to me it balanced everything out. I didn’t think it was cheesy like some reviewers stated. I would not have changed a single thing in this masterpiece.
∞ ∞ ∞
What I would love to see in the next book:
Of course we see what Beckett is up to. I hope he changes and is no longer a crime boss. Both his brothers are married and are happy and that was the reason he fell into that lifestyle after all. I hope he gave it up and finds something interesting to do. Maybe volunteers and works with kids, supports a charity or goes back to school and becomes a social worker and helps out other foster kids. I know that’s a little far-fetched but one can hope. It would make such a good impression on Eve when they reconnect wouldn’t it? With Eve, I want her to find him of course and be aggressive with Beckett . And when she eventually does convince him to come back and commit, I want her to beat his ass into submission. Haha!
I would love to see how the other two couples are doing as well. Perhaps Kyle and Cole are now pregnant and living off of the money that Beckett bestowed. I doubt that will happen though because Cole would always think it was all blood money.
With Livia, I hope she was finally was able to graduate and continues to help Blake through his psychological issues. I’m hoping that Blake is discovered and becomes a renown classical pianist! Hopefully Blake earns millions and is able to get Beckett out of his legal predicament.